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Category: Terry Murray

Kings' Oscar Moller to play in Sweden

Oscer Kings forward Oscar Moller, a restricted free agent, is expected to return to his native Sweden to play in the Elite League next season but the Kings will retain his NHL rights.

General Manager Dean Lombardi said the move was Moller’s choice. The fleet but small winger — he’s listed at 5 feet 10 and 189 pounds — played only 13 games during the season and only one playoff game. He acquitted himself well while filling in for the suspended Jarret Stoll in the second game of the Kings’ playoff series against San Jose but didn’t get another chance to play.

His fatal flaw apparently is his size, at least in the eyes of Lombardi and Coach Terry Murray. Moller has skill and his speed is an element Kings forwards sorely lack, but he couldn’t win a regular spot. And he has little to prove in the American Hockey League after scoring 23 goals and 50 points in 59 games with the Kings’ Manchester farm team last season.

“It is a chance for him to mature more physically. He still has a young body,” Lombardi said via email.

But not a big enough body for the Kings, it seems. Too bad.

ALSO:

Atlanta Thrashers appear bound for Winnipeg

Former King Teddy Purcell finds success with Tampa Bay

--Helene Elliott

Photo: Oscar Moller. Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea / US Presswire

Sharks say they were snubbed by Kings Coach Terry Murray

Photo: Dustin Brown #23 of the Los Angeles Kings shakes hands with the San Jose Sharks after being eliminated in Game 6 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. Credit: Harry How/Getty Images Did Kings Coach Terry Murray commit a grievous sin by not shaking the hands of San Jose players after the Sharks eliminated the Kings from the playoffs Monday?

Murray’s assistants joined the traditional on-ice handshake line after San Jose’s 4-3 overtime victory ended the series in six games, but Murray himself shook the hands only of the Sharks’ coaches and not the players.

That led two Sharks players to express their outrage via Twitter. Said Jamal Mayers (Jamalmayers10): “Kings battled hard! Tough series with 3 OT games! Too bad Murray didn't have class to shake hands like players (who bled) and Asst Coaches!”

Winger Devin Setoguchi (@seto1661) said: “Would like to know why coach of the kings Terry Murray never shook our hands?? Might be a first??”

Uh, sorry, kid, it wasn’t a first. Far from it.

But was it rude?

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Kings' Drew Doughty explains confrontation in Game 4

Kings1 Deadlines and a longer-than-usual game Thursday prevented me from staying downstairs to hear Coach Terry Murray’s remarks after the Kings' 6-3 loss to the Sharks in Game 4 of their playoff series, but something jumped out at me later when I saw the postgame quote sheet that is compiled by the Kings’ media relations staff.

Murray was quoted as saying Sharks fourth-line center Scott Nichol was “the reason that they won,” a reference to a confrontation between Nichol and Kings defenseman Drew Doughty that sent both players to the penalty box at 3:14 of the second period. San Jose scored twice with the teams skating four on four, and Murray saw that as the pivotal moment of the game.

Doughty said Friday he knew he shouldn’t have risen to Nichols’ bait but offered a reasonable explanation.

“That’s really not the right tradeoff at all, but my emotions are running high. He tried to knee me, so I was upset about that, and then he knocked out my teeth and I was upset about that too,” said Doughty, opening his mouth to show off two sawed-off bottom teeth.

“That was the turning point of the game, and they got two goals when I was in the box,” he said. “I was upset but I can’t be doing that. I got to realize that maybe if it’s a guy like [Dan] Boyle or [Joe] Thornton or something like that it’s a better tradeoff. But Nichol’s a fourth-line center and not playing a lot of minutes and my team needs me and I can’t be in the box.”

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Kings: Scott Parse to return

Photo: Scott Parse #63 of the Los Angeles Kings skates against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on January 31, 2010. Credit: Jim McIsaac / Getty Images
Kings Coach Terry Murray, trying to plug the leaks that allowed the San Jose Sharks to score 12 goals in the last two games and take a 3-1 lead in the teams’ best-of-seven playoff series, juggled his lines in practice Friday to include winger Scott Parse, who last played on Nov. 15 and soon after that underwent hip surgery.

Parse skated alongside Michal Handzus and Justin Williams on Friday. On the other lines, Ryan Smyth was on the left with Trevor Lewis and Dustin Brown, and Kyle Clifford, Brad Richardson and Wayne Simmonds remained together.

Murray said he’s not sure about the composition of his fourth line for Saturday’s game at HP Pavilion but Kevin Westgarth will be a part of it. The Kings’ resident enforcer was one of five players wearing green jerseys Friday, along with Dustin Penner, Jarret Stoll, Alexei Ponikarovsky and Oscar Moller

“Westgarth will not be out. He’s played well. He’s played an important role,” Murray said. “I’ll keep him in the lineup.”

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Kings are facing a faceoff problem

Photo: Kings defenseman Willie MItchell, left, and Drew Doughty clear the puck from the zone as Sharks winger Patrick Marleau lurks nearby in Game 3 of the NHL Western Conference quarterfinals at Staples Center Tuesday. Credit: Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times
Faceoffs have been a thorny issue for the Kings in their first three playoff games against the San Jose Sharks, who have a 2-1 series lead entering Game 4 on Thursday night at Staples Center.

The Sharks were the NHL’s second-best faceoff team during the season with a 53.7% success rate, and they’ve improved on that in postseason play. Their 56.8% success rate (117-89) ranks first among the 16 playoff teams. The Kings ranked 10th in faceoff percentage this season at 51.1% but rank last among playoff teams with a 43.2% success rate.

The difference was dramatic in the Sharks’ monumental rally to win Game 3: San Jose won 39 of 64 faceoffs, or 61%. The NHL’s statistics system had Joe Pavelski as 11-6 on faceoffs and Joe Thornton as 15-7; Kings center Michal Handzus was 1-14, which isn’t characteristic.

“This is huge. This is a big, big thing,” Kings Coach Terry Murray said Thursday morning when asked about the faceoff disparity. "They’re a very good faceoff team. They do put pucks to the net and kind of arrive quickly to try to get a faceoff. That is part of the strategy. They’ll come across the center red line with a lot of speed and take a long shot to the net in hopes that maybe there might be a fumble, there might be a loose puck that you’d have to freeze....

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Optional skates aren't optional for Kings' Ryan Smyth

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The morning skate Thursday before Game 4 of the Kings’ playoff series against the San Jose Sharks was an optional session, as most morning skates have been for the Kings since about midseason.

But like most of those sessions, 35-year-old winger Ryan Smyth was on the ice at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo on Thursday. And like always, he spent a good deal of time practicing tips and redirections in front of the net, where he has earned his living.

He skates on game days because it’s a ritual, to an extent. But it's also because he remains determined to do whatever it takes to contribute to a team that will need top-notch efforts from every player to tie this playoff series at two games each and erase the stench of having squandered a four-goal lead Tuesday in a 6-5 overtime loss.

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Dustin Penner making wrong kind of difference for the Kings

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Despite a meltdown that led to a 6-5 overtime loss to the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday and left them facing a 2-1 series deficit, the Kings used the same lineup in practice Wednesday and won't change it for Game 4, to be played Thursday at Staples Center.

That means left wing Dustin Penner, again a liability on defense and now stuck in a 16-game goal drought, will keep his spot alongside Michal Handzus and Dustin Brown, and that enforcer Kevin Westgarth will return to the fourth line. Winger Oscar Moller, who did a capable job filling in for suspended Jarret Stoll in Game 2, will be scratched again, presumably because he has not grown to 6 feet 2 and 200 pounds in the last few days and probably won't.

Coach Terry Murray occasionally switched fourth-line left wing Alexei Ponikarovsky with Penner on Tuesday while his team squandered leads of 4-0 and 5-3 but said he is not inclined to elevate Ponikarovsky above Penner in Game 4.

"No, I'm not thinking that way at the start of a game," Murray said Wednesday after the team practiced in El Segundo.

"Dustin Penner is a very talented guy. And he can become a very good player in this game. Size, strength, speed, skill. He can make a difference in a game for us and that's what we need right now, for him to give us that kind of a performance.

"But clearly if things are not going well for him personally then I have the option of moving Ponikarovsky up there, which I did a couple of times. That's the option that I have as I move throughout the game."

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Slumping Dustin Penner 'waiting for that dam to break'

Ljxivenc When a coach says a player is performing “better,” as Kings Coach Terry Murray has recently described the efforts of left wing Dustin Penner, the natural reaction is, better than what?

Or … how could he be worse?

The brawny winger, acquired from Edmonton on Feb. 28 for defense prospect Colten Teubert, a first-round pick in this year’s entry draft and a conditional third-round pick in the 2012 draft, finished the season with no points in his last 12 games and no goals in his last 13. That streak has continued in the first two games of the Kings’ first-round playoff series against the San Jose Sharks.

He also had a  -2 defensive rating in the Kings’ split of the first two games at San Jose and was demoted to the fourth line during the opener. Those games were his first in postseason play since he won the Cup with the Ducks in 2007, an even longer drought than his goal slump.

Penner will be back with Michal Handzus and Dustin Brown in Game 3 on Tuesday night at Staples Center, but Murray never hesitates to mix up his lines so that can easily change if Penner doesn't produce.

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Kings fans will make noise over San Jose writer's column

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It seems Mark Purdy, a columnist for the San Jose Mercury News, thinks Staples Center is a quiet building and that the lack of support for the home team will give the Sharks an advantage Tuesday night when they play Game 3 of their first-round playoff series against the Kings.

Mark, Mark, Mark.

I hate to do this but…

Did you mean as quiet as the HP Pavilion was on Saturday when the undermanned Kings, minus the suspended Jarret Stoll, were routing the Sharks, 4-0, to tie the series at a game each?

The man obviously has no clue about the passion of Kings fans, who have remained fiercely loyal through some bad times. “If HP Pavilion can be a Metallica concert when the puck drops, Staples is more of a Kenny G experience,” Purdy wrote.

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Kings' Jarret Stoll to return, Oscar Moller to sit

Stol_300l Kings center Jarret Stoll, who missed Game 2 of the Kings’ playoff series against San Jose as punishment for a hit from behind on defenseman Ian White in the opener, was back centering for Ryan Smyth and Justin Williams in practice Monday. And that’s where Stoll is expected to be Tuesday, when the series moves to Staples Center after the teams split the first two games in San Jose.

Stoll’s return means Trevor Lewis, who moved up to the second line, will go back to the fourth line between Alexei Ponikarovsky and Kevin Westgarth, and that fourth-line fill-in Oscar Moller will be out of the lineup. Moller and injured forward Scott Parse wore gray jerseys, usually worn by spare players.

“Stoll’s an important player,” Coach Terry Murray said after the Kings practiced at their El Segundo training facility. “Certainly with his special-team play he’s a big contributor. We’re happy to have him back.”

Stoll said watching the Kings’ 4-0 victory in Game 2 allowed him to see some things he didn’t notice while in uniform.

“Just areas of the ice that are open and that are available,” he said. “I don’t think it’s anything new than what we didn’t know scouting this team, but you definitely see things. It was good to watch the game. I would have liked to have been out there playing but it was what it was and it’s over now and I’m looking forward to Game 3.”

Stoll also said he talked to White, who missed Saturday’s game but might possibly play Tuesday.

“I texted him and we chatted a couple times. He appreciated the texts and reaching out to him,” Stoll said. “I wanted to make sure I did that and letting him know that I didn’t mean to hurt him in any way.”

Check back later for more at www.latimes.com/sports

RELATED:

Kings' Murray wants to move on from Jason Demers hit

Kings hoping for big things from Oscar Moller

-- Helene Elliott

Photo: Jarret Stoll. Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea / U.S. Presswire.

Kings' Murray wants to move on from Jason Demers hit

Kings-demers_600

Kings Coach Terry Murray, who was irate Friday that San Jose defenseman Jason Demers wasn’t punished for a high hit on Kings forward Ryan Smyth in Game 1 Thursday, declined to discuss it again Saturday.

“You know what, it’s time to turn the page. This is Game 2. Forget about it,” Murray said after the team’s morning skate at HP Pavilion.

“The game is over. There was a lot of competitive atmosphere there. There’s a lot of competitive play. It was a good game and this is now Game 2 and that’s the focus.”

Murray said Friday that Demers’ hit in the third period was “five times more severe a hit on Ryan Smyth than what Jarret Stoll’s hit is on [Ian] White,” and compared it to a hit by Steve Downie four years ago that drew a 20-game suspension from the NHL.

“All I know is that other hit is five times more severe, more intent, traveling distance, launching yourself 2 to 3 feet off the ice and a blow to the head. That is a major, long-time suspension,” Murray said of the Demers hit, which occurred early in the third period.

Murray’s remarks were reviewed by the NHL but it’s believed he was not fined.

Smyth said he wasn't injured by the hit and hadn't looked at a replay. “At the time, on the ice, I thought it was a high hit,” he said. “Obviously, it wasn’t called so … things happen.”

A league executive who wasn’t authorized to comment publicly said Demers’ hit should have been a minor penalty and that a couple of other hits in the game probably should have led to penalties as well.

Demers, as could be expected, said his rising hit on Smyth didn’t merit punishment.

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